Ohio man is first executed with lone dose of pentobarbital
Johnnie Baston was convicted of the murder of a Toledo store owner.
March 10th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Ohio man is first executed with lone dose of pentobarbital

Johnnie Baston on Thursday became the first person in the United States executed with the single-dose drug pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital, a barbiturate that has been used in animal euthanasia and as a mild anesthetic in humans, was used in a U.S. execution for the first time in December, when it was administered as the first drug in a three-drug cocktail used in a lethal injection given to an Oklahoma inmate.

Sodium thiopental is the normal drug used in such lethal injections, but a nationwide shortage of the chemical has forced some states to scramble for possible substitutes.

In 2009, Ohio became the first state to perform an execution with a single drug, using a single dose of sodium thiopental.

Baston was pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Institution in Lucasville, the state Department of Corrections said.

He received the death sentenced for the 1994 murder of Toledo store owner Chong Hoon Mah, a South Korean immigrant who was shot in the head at close range.

“For a long time I didn’t see a lot of value in myself,’’ Baston said Thursday in the death chamber, the Toledo Blade reported. “It wasn’t until this moment, till I had to go through this ordeal, that I have seen so much love from so many people, letters from people all over the world, and even Ohio.’’

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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Ohio
soundoff (464 Responses)
  1. Wobh

    From the headline I was expecting something really innovative like being thrown into a tank full of sharks with laser beams on their heads. I'm so disappointed.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • K Edwards

      This is the same methodology for putting your pet to sleep. The "pink juice" is quick and painless.

      March 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gesantos

    Just shoot them in the head with a $5.00 worth of bullet, save me as a taxpayer lot of money!

    March 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • pinkie

      I agree 100% eye for an eye. Don't do the crime if you can't handle the responsibilities. Should have shot him the second the jury said guilty!

      March 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      "You the taxpayer," huh? Let me guess, you're probably one of those millions of tools who just stood by and let the Wall Street bankers steal over a trillion dollars in reward money for destroying our economy.

      March 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Did the 'Wall street bankers" shoot people in the head? We as tax-payers do not want to keep people on death row for numerous years. If a jury votes for death, then 1 appeal within 1 year then death in 30 days. So tired of people sitting sitting on death row for 10,15+ years.

      March 14, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    well one thing for sure. Mr Baston doesn't have to worry about rising oil prices, dwindling house values and he doesn't have to worry about filing his income tax for 2010 on time. There are some benefits of being executed, I guess.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1middleaged

      Do you REALLY think this hardened criminal was worrying about that anyway?!?! I'd be willing to bet he never filed an income tax return.

      March 12, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      He was probably thinking about those things about as much as he was weighing the repercussions of getting caught for murder. Oh wait, that blows the entire deterrence argument out of the water right there. My bad.

      March 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • alumette

      yeah, it's murder paying your taxes, buying expensive gas, living in general. Seriously, you need some excitement in your life.

      March 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. *Lee

    I say hanging should be brought back would make it more of a deterant.

    March 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim walsh

      You'd think so, but ironically numerous empirical studies have shown that the method of execution, or even the availability of the death penalty vs. life in prison, has had little to no impact on murder rates. I guess in the heat of rage or desperation the thoughts of consequences vanish. That being said, i still support the death penalty – Hammurabi code!

      March 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Unfortunately the Hammurabi code prescribed the death penalty for almost all offenses.

      March 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      I say spelling classes should be brought back to teach you how to spell "deterrent."

      March 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missouri Mama

      On the other hand, back in the days of the "Old West" when people were often shot and killed the first time they committed a crime, it did help to keep those offenders from making as many contributions to the gene pool... Maybe it wasn't so much a detouring force as it was removing a potentially poor parent (whether by nature or nurture) to go on to parent more defective children. It's the same reason why lazy people once died, because if you don't work you don't eat, and now we have a nation of over-weight and/or lazy welfare recipients raising generation after generation to be in the system.

      March 14, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. TPQ

    Justice is served when murderers die~

    March 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      And just think, death is built into the human condition itself. So we don't have to do it ourselves to achieve justice, according to your argument. You should revise your logic, as I seem to have located a flaw therein.

      March 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pastymick

      So, if the state kills an innocent person – it does happen – then the state is guilty of premeditated murder. Murder is a capital offense, so then the state must die? Your logic is not well thought out. To prevent the state from committing this simple error in logic, capital punishment must be abolished.

      March 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Don't confuse justice with vengeance.

      March 15, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. mechatronics

    At least he's number one at something.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Iron Cross

    I just heard, he's not really dead but has been hired to monitor this message board.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Marinator

      Nobody moderates it. It's Clbuttic.

      March 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Viceoreason

    It amazes me that we are so concerned about whether the inmate is in "pain". The individuals on death row had little concern for the victims pain much less their loved ones. Why cant we do a painful execution? It may be a better form of deterant than just a simple painless death. Call me barbaric, but, I tend to think about the victims.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      You can always tell the death penalty supporters by their abysmal spelling skills

      March 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • heh

      Abyssmal is not spelled "abysmal". Heh. Irony.

      March 14, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Big John

      Abyssmal is not spelled "abysmal". Heh. Irony.

      Heh – Here's real irony: Abysmal really is spelled "abysmal" according to my dictionary. Try looking things up before you criticize others.

      March 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Slats

      Since when is spelling a prerequisite to having a valid opinion on an issue?

      March 14, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • NoButMaybeOKYes

      Because knowing how to spell indicates literacy which in turn means the person is capable of in depth thought, reasoning, but some illiterate people are capable of complex thought though they can not spell, OK, maybe splleing is not neccesary to thought frmolution ...... however, literacy could be connected.....well OK, maybe not.........NEVERMIND!

      March 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Marinator

      "Since when is spelling a prerequisite to having a valid opinion on an issue?" Haha, you misspelled "Salts."

      March 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • cartec

      I agree with your comments and feel that we are too sympathetic to the criminal. Unfortunately, I don't think that if we used torture to dispose of ruthless criminals it would act as a deterrent. They will continue to wreak grief throughout the world and feel that they will never get caught and that it will never 'happen to me'.

      March 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessie Simone

      You are absolutely right. This country is so concerned about maintaining some special type of image meanwhile other countries such as the U.K., Canada, and Asain countries don't have to worry about a maniac who has the means to open fire at your child's school whenever they see fit. Even maniacs can appreciate then impending consequences of their actions and make a different decisions.

      March 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slats

      I never intended to spell Salts Ancient Marinator but if you were punning it was found it funny.

      March 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kevin

    Why do states worry so much about what chemicals to use on death row inmates when a firing squad would do the job just fine for a lot less money?

    March 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Iron Cross

    Is he alive or dead in the picture for the article?

    March 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. aahawks

    A life is a life. Killing someone is killing someone. There is no justification for the death penalty. Killing them will not make the family feel any better. The ones on this board that are happy about this are the ones that call themselves Christians. You want to outlaw abortions because you are killing someone, but you don't mind the death penalty. You can't have it both ways. I know a baby is innocent, blah, blah, blah. A life is a life and this man was someones baby.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • timd

      This is pretty true. Families of the victims have said many times in the past that they expected some closure after the execution but felt it did nothing for their sufferring. The people that are hurt most by an execution are the innocent family of the convict. Parents, spouses, and childeren are emotionally tortured for the crimes of a person that just happens to be related to them. People think an eye for an eye is justice but it's never that simple.

      March 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      He will never kill another person..... That is enough deterrent for me....

      March 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1middleaged

      Somehow I think that if you were to spend a little "quality time" with animal is his (former) world you might change your rosy point of view... Awwww, poor someone's baby – maybe his mother should have done a better job of raising him. Perhaps beating his a$$ when he did something wrong as a child instead of blaming it on someone else like say his teachers! Many here are saying "... it starts with the justice system..." That's BS! it starts with PROPER PARENTING and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY – stop blaming it on something else!

      March 12, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Ancient Marinator

      We'd fix him up so he wouldn't kill again, if it were possible. It's not like you can just sit someone down and argue with them and they never kill anyone again. And even if we could, what about the dead guy? Best all around if we just kill the murderer so he doesn't repeat-offend.But nothing says we have to enjoy having to kill some poor defective loser.

      March 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      You're a stupid liberal just like the rest of the people against the death penalty. But I'm sure you'd change your mind if one of your family members were murdered. Stupid liberals!

      March 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • nwatcher

      Clarification for you – I cannot speak for everyone else who fits your profile but consider this. Since life is so precious, those who willingly take an innocent life should forfeit their own. And don't throw in the "what about war" bologna...if you don't understand the inherent difference between war, abortion, murder, self defense etc...it would take too long to explain it to you.

      March 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner

      The murderer was someone's baby, but so was the poor Korean shopkeeper, and the shopkeeper did nothing to deserve to die.

      Behavioral consistency theory says that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In addition, most studies of freed murderers show a fairly high recidivism rate.

      So, therefore, I would suggest that the best argument for the death penalty is that it guarantees that he'll never murder again.

      March 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. danielle

    17 years on death row. What is wrong with this country? where is the justice to the familiy of mr. Mah.? Death row should be no longer than 5 years, and that's a stretch as far as I'm concerned.

    March 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viceoreason

      Completely agree!

      March 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • pronco

      Something tells me that if his name had been Mr. Martinez you wouldn't give a sh|t, so quit yer b|tchin.

      March 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. timd

    Anybody know what he had for his last meal? Just checking to see if herequested Dr.Pepper like so many do before the big sleep. I wonder if it's product placement? I can just see him holding the can up and saying, "I'm just dying for a Dr. Pepper!"

    March 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • brillow

      i had fish for my last meal. now i think i'll have a coke.

      March 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chloe's comments

    Everyday I read about people killing other people, especially children, and then they spend years upon years on death row. I know that some people are wrongly convicted, but when there is NO doubt a speedy execution is best for everyone.

    March 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. heidi-ho

    To Timd: That Dr. Pepper comment was great! Glad to see people still have a sense of humor. I also agree with doing away with Black History Month. Whens the last time we celebrated White History Month? I mean Im just saying......

    March 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • MLK


      March 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slats

      MLK – How do you get racist out of that comment. No hate there. No idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others. You don't even know what race Heidi-Ho is unless you are making a broad assumption based on the limited material available concerning that person. That being said your diatribe is laced with hate. Where did Heidi-ho mention the mans race? That being said I would say that your comment was actually the most shallow and ignorant of all that I have read today. You have made broad assumptions, attacked someone, all because of a statement you deemed racist and from there you proceeded to crucify the person. You are pretty ignorant.

      March 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
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